The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council's Small Business Survival Index 2008 is based on the idea that "a state's economy and competitiveness benefit most from what government does not do," says the study's main author, SBEC economist Raymond Keating. The index it looks at 34 costs on investment and business that are imposed by government directly—such as taxes and regulations—or indirectly—such as a failure to control crime. These 34 measurements are tallied together into one overall score for each state, determining its overall ranking. A lower number suggests a lighter government burden on the business people in that state.
Here are the three measurements out of the 34 (besides the overall) we highlighted in our map:
Corporate Income Tax
A state's rank for this measurement is based on its top corporate income tax rate.
State and Local Property Taxes
A state's rank for this measurement is based on its property taxes as a share of personal income.
State and Local Sales, Gross Receipts, and Excise Taxes
A state's rank for this measurement is based on its consumption taxes as a share of personal income. Fuel taxes are not included here, however, because they are included in their own measurement in the study.